The Urban Nomad Film Festival last night screened short films with the theme “Whitey Strikes Back” at Taipei Artist Village. Most of the shorts were directed by foreign residents of Taiwan.
The Glass Box (玻璃箱) is a short film directed by Matt Finlin. It is set in Kaohsiung and revolves around an encounter between an American English teacher and a Taiwanese betel nut beauty. They share their hopes and frustrations as both struggle to find their place in the world. Despite their different backgrounds they find they have something in common.
Please Insert Coin (用不完的十元) is a wonderful and surprising documentary about something most people have seen but never paid attention to. It looked at “crane games” that can be found in almost every Taiwanese night market. Users put in NT$10 in the hope of fishing out a toy. Most people rarely have success, but there are a group of people who study this and hone their skills at this game. Their skills are quite extraordinary too. For some playing the game is for fun and a social activity, but for others it is actually an addiction.
Santa’s Shitty Night detailed an encounter with a very unhappy (and foulmouthed) Santa Claus. This short got plenty of laughs from the crowd.
Surfing was spotlighted in two short films. Year of the Cock featured fast paced and awesome surfing action. Wave Man (浪人) also turned showed some of Taiwan’s surfers in action. I also saw a couple of short films on surfing at last year’s Taipei Film Festival. Perhaps in the future someone might make a full length film on the Taiwanese surfing scene.
The night finished with the screening of Moog. This documentary profiled Bob Moog, inventor of the analogue synthesizer. It gave a fascinating look at the life and thoughts of the inventor and also talked with musicians for whom the Moog revolutionised music.
Urban Nomad continues at the Taipei Artist Village until Saturday. There are also some extra screenings at the Nanhai Gallery this weekend and next. Check the Urban Nomad website for more details.